Tuberculosis (TB) bacteria can lie dormant in the body for weeks or even many years, causing no illness in 90 to 95 percent of infected people. However, in 5 to 10 percent of cases, the bacteria start to multiply and destroy tissue. Tuberculosis usually strikes the lungs, and eventually a hole can develop in the patient's lung. Air or fluid may accumulate between the chest wall and lungs, causing the patient to have chest pain and feel short of breath. In some cases, the bacteria may spread through the body and damage other organs. If not treated, tuberculosis can be fatal.
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